Monday, August 24, 2015

Disney Cruise to Alaska Trip Review ~ Part 6 ~ Skagway

Good morning and welcome to Skagway! The ship docked close to town and the view was immediately beautiful with the Coast Mountains towering over the city. Skagway was named by the native Tlingit Indians and means "the place where the north wind blows".
Our excursion was to include the White Pass Railway up the mountains, arriving in Fraser B.C., with a motor coach ride back down the mountains with a stop at Liarsville.

The rail portion of this trip is a very popular one, with many trains running the route at the same time. Be sure and sit on the left hand side, as this is where the majority of the stunning views will be located.
The narrow gauge train works it's way slowly up, and is narrated. Our guide was a local who was full of information and stories, which added a nice historical background to the views. Remember the meaning of Skagway? Trees have a distinct bend all along the route. You'll head through Dead Horse Pass on your way, with a rushing river below, which earned it's name since horses ran out of energy and tended to die there.
You'll see trees that appear to be very young. They aren't..their growth is stunted since they are covered with snow most of the year, and of course they lean from the winds that rush through these mountains. Along the way, you'll see waterfalls and glaciers, and pass through tunnels. Watch out the window for curves that allow you to see the front of your train.
Be sure you have your passport, since you pass into Canada, and the train will be boarded for a quick passport check.
Then it's off the train and onto motor coaches for the way down. We made a stop or two along the way, once to see this bridge that is designed to move and shift with earthquakes. Luckily we didn't see it in action.
We then stopped at a small reproduction of Liarsville, a camp from Klondike days.
 The advertised cookies and cider were nothing to write home about...strictly low cost store bought and the cider watery...bring a snack. There is a nice little store here, and a kind of hokey kind of cute show is put on.
Take time to check out the tents and read about the history of the town. It's main purpose was for reporters to have a comfortable place to make up stories about the Gold Rush. These reporters never made it anywhere near the incredibly difficult route the miners took, hence the name Liarsville. You then get to 'gold mine'.

Then it was back to Skagway, where there are plenty of shops that look identical to shops in other Alaskan ports and pretty much full of disappointing Made in China items. If you look carefully, authentic items can be found, but expect to pay for authenticity. If you like salmon you'll find everything that could possible be made of salmon ready to buy.
Back on the ship found everyone getting ready for a special evening of Frozen fun with Freezing the Night Away, along with a special menu in the dining rooms.
This was our final day of Anna's Chocolate Chase Scavenger Hunt (a little disappointing to have the prize be a Rice Krispie treat...what, no chocolate?) and also included Oaken's Maypole Swirl as well as the big event deck party. The party started at 9:45 PM..notice how bright it was when it started.
After the party a buffet was set up with themed decorations and an ice sculpture.
Maybe this was where all the chocolate was? No, it was a regular buffet with main dish items although some chocolate desserts were on hand and I did find a crepe station.
There was also an after party party at 10:45, but we passed on that as we would be arriving in Juneau the next morning.
















Friday, August 7, 2015

Disney Cruise to Alaska Trip Review ~ Part 5 ~ Tracy Arm

Looking at your itinerary, you might think spending a whole day just wending your way through Tracy Arm Fjord would be boring and a good day to camp out in the theater for a film or take a long nap. You'd be wrong.
Tracy Arm Fjord in part of the inside passage of Alaska and is in the Tongass National Forest. Wherever you are, all day, you'll be treated to stunning views. Narration is broadcast on certain decks as well as on your stateroom television.
You're guaranteed to see 7,000 foot high mountains and beautiful waterfalls.
You'll also see icebergs a glorious shade of blue. Be sure to attend a naturalist's presentation to learn why.
You MAY be lucky enough to see whales, sea lions bald eagle and maybe a bear or goat.
If possible, a piece of iceberg is brought on deck for guests to touch (surprise! it feels like ice).
 Disney adds to the peaceful day vibe buy not having music playing on the decks, so just wander all around the ship and take in the quiet untouched beauty of Tracy Arm.